The completed dish, with added homemade corn tortilla, fried black beans with queso fresco sprinkled on top, and homemade guacamole. Photo: Benjamin Seto
Tasajo asado y chorizo Oaxaqueno with house-made corn tortillas, fried black beans, queso fresco and homemade guacamole at Nido restaurant in Oakland. Photo: Benjamin Seto

The Mexican restaurant Nido has been drawing people to its eclectic spot on the southern edge of Oakland’s Jack London Square for the last three years.

Its colorful interior, decked out in quirky décor like painted bird cages and upside-down canisters, adds to the charm of this neighborhood spot. Opened by the husband-and-wife team of Cory and Silvia McCollow (she’s a native of Mexico), the restaurant is known for its unique menu of Mexican classics made with locally sourced and house-made ingredients.

“We like to put on the menu things that can’t be found at other restaurants [in the Bay Area] and are representative of Mexico,” says Jose Ramos, Nido’s executive chef. He previously worked at Nopalito in San Francisco.

One of those dishes is the tasajo asado y chorizo Oaxaqueno, which can only be found on the dinner menu. This popular Oaxacan dish is made of grilled thinly sliced beef and served with chorizo, fried black beans, grilled onions, guacamole, quesillo cheese, queso fresco and corn tortillas.

At Nido, Ramos uses thin slices of eye round that are marinated simply with lemon juice, lemon zest, olive oil and salt. Once grilled, the meat is served with spicy, three-chile Oaxacan-style chorizo, plus house-made guacamole and corn tortillas. Always trying to source the most authentic ingredients, Ramos uses quesillo cheese — which is like a salty mozzarella — that’s made locally by producers originally from Oaxaca.

The salsa and side of roasted greens on the plate sometimes change with what’s in season.

While Nido changes its menu often, Ramos says the tasajo asado stays because it continues to sell. “I think people like the flavors and all the different ingredients that come on the plate. It makes it more fun to create your own taco,” he said.

Ramos demonstrated how the tasajo asado plate comes together in the Nido kitchen. Follow along as he prepares the dish.

Chef Jose Ramos cuts thin slices of eye round beef to start the tasajo asado. Photo: Benjamin Seto
The meat is coated with a simple marinade of lemon juice, lemon zest, olive oil and salt for just five minutes. Photo: Benjamin Seto
Onions and seasonal greens are also dressed with the same marinade as the meat and then grilled. Photo: Benjamin Seto
One of the components of the dish is quesillo cheese, which Nido sources from producers who are originally from Oaxaca. Photo: Benjamin Seto
Ramos grills the meat. Because the steak is sliced so thin, they are only on the grill for less than a minute. Photo: Benjamin Seto
The meat and vegetables are added to the plate. Ramos rolls the steak into a ball to keep it warm and moist. Photo: Benjamin Seto
The meat and vegetables are added to the plate. Ramos rolls the steak into a ball to keep it warm and moist. Photo: Benjamin Seto
House-made Oaxacan-style chorizo is grilled for the dish. Photo: Benjamin Seto
The dish is served with a chile pasilla salsa. Photo: Benjamin Seto
Nido’s Executive Chef Jose Ramos with his tasajo asado y chorizo Oaxaqueno. (In the background is one of his cooks, Julio Chablet.) Photo: Benjamin Seto

Nido is at 444 Oak St. (between Fourth and Fifth streets), Oakland. Connect with the restaurant on Facebook and Twitter.

Benjamin Seto is the voice behind Focus:Snap:Eat, where he dishes on food at restaurants and shops in the Bay Area, in his kitchen, and from his culinary adventures.

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Freelancer Benjamin Seto has worked as a reporter and editor for various newspapers around the country, and is currently a communications professional and food writer based in Oakland. Ben is also the...